Used 1996 Subaru SVX Review




what's new

The L model gets standard solar-reduction glass this year.

vehicle overview

Subaru has never been what you'd call a conventional car company. When 18-foot-long V8-powered behemoth station wagons roamed America, Subaru was busy marketing tiny, ugly, four-wheel-drive wagons primarily to consumers in the Northeast and Northwest. While the inline four-cylinder engine became the compact class standard, Subaru installed horizontally opposed 'flat' fours in its models. All the while, Subaru retained character in the styling of its wares, bucking the jelly-bean look for a more squared-off wedge thing. The Subaru XT Coupe, about which nothing was common, became Subaru's first attempt at marketing a sports coupe. The SVX replaced that oddity in 1992.

The first thing you notice about the SVX is the out-there styling. Much more attractive than the XT Coupe, the SVX is an interesting blend of curves, bulges and angles which result in a busy, overstyled car that looks too thick in the rear. Captain Kirk likely would have found the styling pleasing, but we don't. The split side glass is a neat concept that allows you to drive with the window down in a rainstorm without worrying about getting a wet arm or mussing your hair, but we suspect that in the real world of varying-height drive-thru service windows, it doesn't work well.

Inside, the SVX looks more like a luxury coupe than a sports car. Velour covers the seats in the LS; LSi models get leather hides. The swept dash is full of oddities, such as the trick stereo cover. Comfortable chairs provide surprisingly good outward visibility, but the rear view is somewhat compromised by the big decklid spoiler.

So why should you buy this Subaru? It's speedy, comfortable and with available all-wheel drive, is one of the few sports cars made for all-weather driving. Fully loaded at less than $36,000, the SVX gives good bang for the buck, and makes a strong statement about its owner. If your wacky personality matches the offbeat SVX, you've just found the car of your dreams.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.